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The Week’s Most Interesting Reads

How many people have died in Syria’s war? Laia Balcells, Lionel Beehner, and Jonah Schulhofer-Wohl assess the competing claims and casualty figures.

Veterans of the burn pits. Kelley Vlahos reports on the severe health problems of U.S. soldiers exposed to toxic substances from burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The illusion of geopolitics. John Ikenberry rejects Mead’s assertion that Russia, China, and Iran aspire to dismantle the post-Cold War order:

But Mead’s alarmism is based on a colossal misreading of modern power realities. It is a misreading of the logic and character of the existing world order, which is more stable and expansive than Mead depicts, leading him to overestimate the ability of the “axis of weevils” to undermine it. And it is a misreading of China and Russia, which are not full-scale revisionist powers but part-time spoilers at best, as suspicious of each other as they are of the outside world.

Local foreign policy-making. Citing the relationship between Houston and Baku, Joshua Walker describes the role that businesses and local governments can have in shaping relations with other countries.

The U.S. has little at stake in Ukraine. Christopher Fettweis identifies some of the “deeply pathological beliefs” on display in the Ukraine debate.

Understanding the Budapest Memorandum. Philipp Bleek explains what the 1994 agreement requires.

How important is Gerry Adams’ arrest? Henry Farrell answers five questions on the significance of Adams’ arrest for Irish politics and peace in Northern Ireland.

The perils of NATO expansion. Bill French finds that the costs of adding new members greatly outweigh the benefits.

The assassin that triggered WWI. Ian Thomson reviews Tim Butcher’s The Trigger, which tells the story of Gavrilo Princip and his plot to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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